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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 464

Say Who?

  1. In Faith Goble’s “Birdland,” chapter 5, what are the protesters protesting?

  2. In Sean Hower’s “The Runner,” is Nikul’s last question too easy? How might the story change if the snake deliberately gave a wrong answer?

  3. In Kate Osias’ “The Soundless Ones,” does the account overstep Bewildering Stories’ restriction on stories that end with “But it was all a dream” or the equivalent?

  4. In Boghos L. Artinian’s “The Custody of Genomes”:

    1. If preserving genomes is a good thing in itself, are natural — as opposed to catastrophic — extinctions therefore a bad thing?
    2. Must intelligent species necessarily be humanoid in form?
    3. If all the references to God were omitted, would the substance of the essay be changed in any significant way?
  5. In Bill Bowler’s The Shepherd of Zakhbaal, chapter 5, part 1:

    1. “Ardz, klikh zekst!” the large hominid uttered in a hoarse, rasping voice. The one named Ardz picked up Omar’s backpack and shouldered it awkwardly.

      How can Omar know that “Ardz” is a name? Is a name necessary?

    2. Omar is outnumbered by the heavily armed hominids. Why does he proceed to attack them?

    3. “Their yellow eyes burned with hatred, and Omar wondered why.” — Eyes are commonly referred to in literature as expressing emotion. In reality they do not. What facial features do? In view of the hominids’ actions, does Omar need to make an assumption about the meaning of non-human expressions?

    4. “They marched six days, never speaking again to Omar, despite his repeated attempts.” — Why could Omar never have survived the march? What is taken for granted in the narration?

    5. “Omar understood that Vaktar and Svak were their names.” — Does Omar understand that the words are names or does he assume they are?

    6. In part 2:

      “Tiger glared around with a single flashing, coal-black eye.” — In chapter 4, Tiger has three eyes. In chapter 5, part 1, Tiger has sight in only one eye. What has happened to the other two?

    7. In light of the context of chapter 5, what might “Zakhbaal” mean?

Responses welcome!

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